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M+M intros flat-rate new TLD services

Kevin Murphy, June 26, 2011, 17:50:06 (UTC), Domain Registries

Minds + Machines is to offer its back-end registry services to new top-level domain applicants for a flat $100,000 annual fee, the company has announced.

The deal represents a bit of a switch for the registry market, which typically charges on a per-domain, per-year basis and doesn’t talk about pricing.

The $100,000 offer will not be extended to potentially high-volume gTLDs, such as .music, or geographic strings such as .nyc, M+M said.

Customers deemed “disadvantaged or needy” will get a 50% discount.

It’s a pretty aggressive move by the company, which has been waiting for years for ICANN to approve the new gTLD program and needs to grab market and mindshare quickly.

M+M was recently compelled to partner with a larger rival, Neustar, to run the back ends for geo-TLDs supported by governmental entities nervous about using a relatively inexperienced player.

“Until now, pricing for registry services has been shrouded in secrecy, and potential applicants have had to try to decipher convoluted pricing tiers,” M+M CEO Antony Van Couvering said in a press release.

He’s not wrong.

The large incumbent registry players have not publicly disclosed pricing, but I gather it’s usually around a couple of dollars per domain per year, with some additional flat fees.

From up-and-coming registry operators, I’ve heard figures as low as $0.75 per domain per year. Competition for applicant customers is, I’m told, getting pretty fierce.

While the new M+M pricing structure is obviously simpler, it will appeal largely to applicants expecting to take a relatively low registration volume, but still high enough that $100,000 does not work out to a ludicrous per-domain fee.

A 25,000-name community registry, for example, would pay the equivalent of $4 per domain per year, which might not make a heck of a lot of sense if they can get an equivalent service for a buck a name elsewhere.

On the other hand, a company targeting a stable base of 250,000 names may lose money in the years it ramps up to that goal, but it will see its margins swell as its registration volume grows.

Still, the new gTLD program is all about innovation (right?) and this seems to be one of the first tangible examples, so it will be very interesting to see how well it plays in the market.

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Comments (5)

  1. Emma says:

    Stupidy article. These new extensions will never work. They will just waste their money for nothing. If they could explain why .asia, .travel, .jobs, .aero, that are in the market for years now, have never been talked about they would have the reason to risk or not to risk their money.

  2. Matthias says:

    I’m not that pessimistic about the new TLDs. After all, .travel, .jobs and .aero are available only for companies operating in certain industries or presenting themsevles as employers. Sure, some of the potential new TLDs will not be registered by millions of users. Others, however, have a great potential: just think of .shop, .web, or City TLDs like .nyc, .paris.

  3. Mike says:

    It seems that M+M does not need to offer a back-end anymore. Due to http://business.financialpost.com/2011/06/28/company-seeks-gold-in-green-internet-domain/ they stopped to maintain their websites supportdoteco.com and dotecotld.com (mentioned at facebook)

  4. Tom G says:

    Yes, when shopping around you can find providers at less than 2 dollars per domain. So the question becomes, do we anticipate more than 50k registrations. Interesting approach though.

    A registry does not need hundreds of thousands of registrations to be profitable. New vertical integration rules make it possible to be profitable at 50k or less. Success of a registry is not determined only by the aftermarket, my domainer friends.

  5. Tom G says:

    @Mike M+M is into WAY more than dot.eco. The question really is, what are they NOT going after.

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